(Black Press file photo).

(Black Press file photo).

COVID-19 remains a factor in the Red Deer region and province this summer

Weekly reports are over, but the virus hasn’t gone away

Weekly provincial government COVID reports are over, but the sickness continues to spread in Red Deer — even into July.

While summer is officially here, many Red Deerians are still coming down with the more transmissible sub-variants of the coronavirus.

One local health practitioner had three patients cancellations this week because of COVID, and he was also temporarily down a receptionist due to the same illness.

Alberta Health continues to posted online information for Albertans to use to inform their daily decisions based on their own risk and context.

Information Alberta Health provided on Thursday, on behalf of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw states it’s important for Albertans to consider their individual risk factors, and personal context and to make decisions that make sense for them.

“This can mean considering wearing a mask at times when transmission is higher, or when gathering with loved ones who are at higher risks of severe outcomes.”

A geospatial map on the Alberta Government website breaks COVID-19 statistics down by geography, listing Red Deer as a medium-risk location, while Red Deer County is pegged as low risk.

The City of Lacombe, Camrose County and Paintearth County are all shown to be high risk, as is the Town of Olds. Mountain View County was put into the highest risk category, based on its current caseload of having 100 cases per 100,000 population over seven days.

Wastewater surveillance shows the rate of the virus dropped off significantly in Red Deer in May but continues to be found, albeit at a very low levels, compared to the regular peaks that occurred between January and the end of May.

Alberta’s COVID-19 statistics indicate cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are continuing to be seen. While these are more transmissible, there is no increased risk of severe outcomes associated with these subvariants.

As summer turns to fall, Albertans can expect to see periods of increased transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases like influenza. Hinshaw considers vaccinations critical to protecting individuals’ health and the health-care system. Albertans are encouraged to get every dose they are eligible for.

The provincial government is reviewing interim guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on considerations for the fall 2022 COVID-19 vaccine booster program in Canada. Updates will be provided as they become available.